The Functions of Graphics and Visual Reasoning Demand in Mathematical Problems in the Malaysian National Examination


  • Haliza Abd Hamid Universiti Malaya
  • Noraini Idris Universiti Malaya
  • Ruzela Tapsir INTEC Education College, Shah Alam


mathematic education, visual reasoning, graphics, mathematical tasks,, decoding


Evaluation on the quality of education in Malaysia is assessed mainly through written examinations. Both the Malaysian Education Development Plan for 2001-2010 and 2013-2025 outlined restructuring of the Integrated Secondary School Curriculum (KBSM) with one of the aims to enhance students’ critical and creative thinking which could be achieved through the imperative visual reasoning skills in mathematics education specifically in the solving of mathematical problems. This study presents the analysis on the roles of graphical tasks, which are visual in nature, in the mathematics papers, Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, of the main Malaysian national examination, the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, with the visual reasoning demand as the point of focus. A quantitative analysis is carried out on the role of graphics: decorative, representational, organizational or informational, and the trend in topics with graphic-accompanied tasks. In addition, the level of visual reasoning demand by the graphical tasks: reading the graphics, reading between the graphics and reading beyond the graphics are also looked into. Findings observe that various forms of graphics are over-represented in the examination papers and suggest that the students’ ability to read and interpret graphics is central to the choice and structure of graphics accompanied in the problems. How information is presented plays a critical role in establishing students’ understanding of the mathematical concepts.


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How to Cite

Hamid, H. A., Idris, N., & Tapsir, R. (2019). The Functions of Graphics and Visual Reasoning Demand in Mathematical Problems in the Malaysian National Examination. Asian Journal of Assessment in Teaching and Learning, 3, 31–45. Retrieved from

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